Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Am Haunted By Fishes.....

These are the days that determine our creed. the code of our angling ethics.

Yesterday I ended the Landlocked Salmon season on one of my favorite rivers.  Usually during the last few days, as the season close is the 31st day of October, flow is blown out and swollen with snow falling.  Under normal conditions I am fishing in a more southerly location of New Hampshire for the finish.  This year the rains came early and even with the river still high I hoped it would fish well.  It did not.

Starting high up and working down river proved a casting experience.  I knew the fish were there but, for what ever reason, their jaws were locked.  I then decided to check out a run that always holds a number of fish.  It is heavily angled when the water is low enough to access.  By this time the fish have been there for a number of weeks and seen a whole bunch of flies.

Working down from the top of the rapid I was stopped dead in my boots.  Frozen in time and stilled with amazement as there before me was the largest Landlocked Salmon I have ever seen.  Next to that fish was another that was by Landlocked standards a true monster.  My guess was seven pounds or more.  I had a copper bead headed olive leech trailed by a Stalcup Caddis Emmerger on eight pound tippets.  I have learned that when fishing the new co-polymer leaders, available today, I no longer need to be using very low pound tippets.   Tied with Davy knots I have become very strong with the playing of the fish I hook.  I backed myself up into the bushes and made a cast in a dead drift nymph style.  Three casts later the big one inhaled the leech and I was in heaven.  One strong run up river that included a surface clearing jump and then pulled back to my feet.  I tried with my net and the fish bull dogged forward and away.  Close but not close enough.  Two more times and the same thing happened.  As I was working this magnificent salmon back for a forth try my barb free leech came out and the trailing fly caught in the fishes tail.  Having none of that, with one good tail slap she was free.

Now, I have been professing using barb free hooks as this blog will confirm.  But at that moment I lost a fish of a lifetime and I am almost certain that a barbed hook may have held tight.

"These are the times that try men's souls"  Thomas Paine said that.  "These are the times that make me want to throw in the rod".  I said that.

Later, while packing for the day, I stuck myself deep with a size 8 olive leech.   A moment of panic and then  the point being driven home.  It slipped out of my finger with ease.

Today as the vision of that fish dances in my brain, I have been wrestling with the choice of a possible trip to the hospital verses a photo with the largest landlocked salmon of my life.  This is really a hard one...........

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